My good friend, Gladys and I went to Amapala two weekends ago and this trip was the funniest, most entertaining trip I have ever taken and all because it was a series of unusual situations which we could have been angry about or could have been frustrated by...we weren't. We used the trip as a time for bonding as friends and how better to bond than through shared misfortunes and laughter?
The actual road trip to Coyolito, the "town" where one catches the boat over to the island where Amapala is located takes in theory, about two hours. It took us two and a half hours, more or less due to some interesting occurences. Fortunatey, Gladys drove in her SUV because I always rent a small compact car, which in most instances is easier to park...less safe but easier.
The road to the port is very good by Honduran standards and weaves through the mountains. Scenery is verdant and interesting...many poor shacks, kids in the road naked and playing ball and then, there are the animals! We rounded one bend which happened to be a one lane road. The rest of the road had been eliminated either by plan or by falling down the mountain side. So, of course, there could be oncoming traffic, or traffic behind us. What appeared as we rounded the bend??? About two hundred huge head of cattle, with gigantic horns, stampeding towards us. After a two second consult, we decided to stop, mid-road, around the bend where no one coming behind or in front of us could see us and we waited. For what? For the cattle to find a way around us. We were terrified we might be rammed by them. We had to laugh at the thought that I could have driven in my small compact and come face to face with cattle bigger than my car!! There was no person shepharding this group...they were just on a stampede and ran past us, not bothering us at all. We continued on wishing we had had a camera to take a photo and laughing our butts off at what could have been very dangerous...but wasn't.
The road in places had no shoulder or even a lane in spots. At one point, there was NO road and we shinnied up the side curve of the mountain to ride on the edge so we could reach road about two blocks up. The other side...there wasn't one but there were red plastic cones next to the broken off side of the mountain that used to house two lanes of road.
Around another bend...naked young boys and girls playing soccer in the road. Reaction time was super and we hit no kids and no roosters. Keep in mind, we were navigating 2.5 hours away from what passes as civilization here in Tegucigalpa with directions like...turn at the llanteria (tire fixing place) turn left at the church and go about an hour and look for a right turn south. And there aren't signs to anything so each expedition is truly a TRIP. We found the place to catch the boat...ah, which boat will really take us where we want to go safely? And maps? Ha. I have one with names of cities on it and roads that MAY have once been there, but aren't today and without roads that are there.
And then, which boat is safe? None have life preservers. Some have holes in the bottoms and are leaking. All have hungry boat owners or drivers. Which should we take? And where ever do we park the vehicle so it is there when we return...in one piece? Found a home with a metal gate where we could rent a parking space...the price, about $5 per day and we were to be gone two days. So we pulled our suitcases, Gladys' painting supplies, my cooler and chairs along to the dock and chose our "boat" and off we went.
The view...spectacular. Islands, the sea, green mountains. And from afar one cannot see the poverty, the dirt or the isolation. Yes, we arrived safely at the hotel dock and enjoyed the breeze and trip. Did I mention this place is in the south where it was about 98 degrees and about 98% humidity?
Now this hotel, Hotel Mirador, is one of four on the island. This is the nicest and we knew folks who had been there a year or more ago. The hotel even has a website with information and photos so we had selected the hotel with care. But more about that later...I have a breakfast meeting shortly!!